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This week it’s National Picnic Week, why not go for a picnic this Sunday on Fathers Day and treat the whole family, especially Dad. Finger foods are perfect for picnics and can be eaten as you explore, my favourites are Sausage Rolls, homemade are definitely best and can be made with the children the day before.

Sausage Roll

Sausage Rolls

Ingredients

  • 500g puff pastry
  • 400g good quality sausages
  • 1 eating apple
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Flour for rolling

What you need to do

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
  2. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to make a rectangle about 26cm x 40cm, cut the pastry in half lengthways so that you have two long thin pieces.
  3. Slit the sausages with a knife to remove the sausage meat and place it in a bowl.
  4. Peel, core and finely dice the apple, add to the sausage meat with the wholegrain mustard and the salt and pepper, mix together well and divide the mixture into two.
  5. Lightly flour your hands and roll out each half of the sausage meat into a long sausage the same length as the pastry.
  6. Lay the sausages onto each piece of pastry lengthways and brush the egg along the longer edges, fold one edge of the pastry over the sausage and then roll the whole thing slightly so that the join is underneath, press lightly to seal the pastry.
  7. Cut each roll into 12 small rolls and place them on a baking tray, lined with baking paper, so that the join is underneath, make two small cuts on the top of each roll and brush with the beaten egg.
  8. Bake in the oven for approx. 20 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden and the meat has cooked through.

These sausage rolls can be made up to a month in advance and frozen, freeze them uncooked before brushing with the egg, to cook from frozen add 10 minutes on to the cooking time.

They are ideal for school lunchboxes and delicious served warm on a buffet.

Buddleia and Small Tortoiseshell

To keep the children entertained on your picnic why not set them an I Spy Nature Quiz, print off a list of things that you might see on your picnic, and ask them to tick them off as they see them, they could do this individually or in teams don’t forget the prize for the winners, here are some suggestions of what to include:

  • Ladybird
  • Butterfly
  • Bee
  • Beetle
  • Spider
  • Daisy
  • Buttercup
  • Blackbird
  • Robin
  • Oak Tree
  • Holly Tree
  • Rabbit
  • Squirrel

Have a lovely weekend, hopefully with plenty of warm, sunny picnic weather.

Have fun

Gill

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Leeks are a valuable and versatile ingredient in the kitchen delivering a huge amount of flavour and are often overlooked. If you have a glut of Leeks in the garden or allotment or are simply craving their delicious mild onion flavour why not give this recipe a go, it is a firm favourite at home.

Leeks ready to be harvested and cooked

Leek and Bacon Quiche

  • 350g Shortcrust Pasty or a shop bought cooked pastry case
  • 25g Butter
  • 3 Leeks chopped
  • 175g  Streaky Bacon chopped
  • 200ml Double Cream
  • 4 Eggs
  • 125g Cheddar Cheese grated
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped Parsley

If you are not using a shop bought pastry case grease a 25cm flan tin with some of the butter, line with the shortcrust pastry and bake blind.

Heat the remainder of the butter in a frying pan and fry the leeks over a medium heat until soft and just turning brown, remove the leeks and set aside, now fry the bacon until crisp.

Beat together the cream and eggs, then stir in the leeks, bacon, grated cheese and parsley. Pour carefully into the pastry case and bake at 190C/375F/Gas mark 5 for approx 25 minutes or until golden brown and set.

Serve it hot or cold, it also makes a good addition to a lunchbox or a picnic.

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